The Art of healing: Hoʻoponopono

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Hotmail delivered an email by a troubled soul I no longer consider as friend, refer to my emotional rant in the article ‘A can of worms’. Technology amazes me, how you can still receive emails from a ‘blocked’ person is one of the wonders of modern society. In this instance however, gratitude is the order of the day.

Her email, as always, was a forwarded email that goes by the subject line: “I’m sorry” and “I love you”.  I must be the only dyslexic in the world who just can’t resist reading a well-written email, even if it is from someone I have officially blocked from my life. What can I say? We all have our quirks; curiosity is mine.

This particular email was so intriguing it warranted a post, for those who are familiar with my musings you know that I rather stay silent than write for the sake of writing, yes all you social media marketers, I am guilty of the number one SMM no-no. I have never been one to conform and my viewpoints are different at best but never run-of-the-mill.

Hoʻoponopono is the ancient Hawaiian belief system that offers cures for a world steeped in pain and sickness. According to Wikipedia, “Hoʻoponopono” is defined in the Hawaiian Dictionary as “mental cleansing: family conferences in which relationships were set right through prayer, discussion, confession, repentance, and mutual restitution and forgiveness.”

This particular email made references to Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len, a therapist in Hawaii who cured a complete ward of criminally insane patients without ever seeing them, by improving himself. Total responsibility, the belief that everything in your life is your responsibility and not in a guilt tripping depressing way but in an uplifting empowering way.

I am not completely sold on the technique or the results, nor am I convinced of the authenticity of the claims, however what I am intrigued with is the underlying empowerment message. Yes, I am a sucker for inspirational, motivational and downright simple common sense. As a catholic, I can totally resonate with, ‘prayer, discussion, confession, repentance, and mutual restitution and forgiveness’.

For the longest time however, I always thought that all the above were for your own mental health. As a proponent of, ‘You have the power to change your past’ I found it quite interesting that I, me and myself encompasses the universe.

The question, ‘what have you done?’ being posed to the parents when any child was ill, really struck a nerve. The fact that one out of my brood of three is perpetually ill might have something to do with it. My counsellor, as my son might have Asperger’s, is always drumming the circle of parenting principles, one of her favourite being, the solution to all behavioural issues with children is to spend more quality time with them. To rejoice in them and delight in them, kind but firm is what every parent should aim for. Screaming, yelling and generally loosing it is my modus operandi, but Libby and I are working on that.

Apart from the fact that if you are at peace with yourself, everyone around you will also absorb that calming presence (a kindy teacher who is confident and calm always has her class attentive to her), the ability to heal others by taking responsibility for them mentally, seems to make a lot of sense. In this world where everyone is harping on their freedom to curse, insult and abuse, a message of peace, harmony, forgiveness and most importantly responsibility might just be what we need in these troubled times.

To heal the world, our community, our families, by first healing ourselves, makes a lot of sense. Every troubled teenager, criminal and war monger needs to be taken responsibility for, we as a community need to step out of our shells, our private little perfect worlds and embrace the troubled, lonely and even the criminally insane with love, forgiveness and acknowledgment. Distancing ourselves form the problem doesn’t make it go away, doing something about it does.

Now, that doesn’t mean that we all make a beeline to the prisons and hospitals; that would be nice, however what we can do is stop this mental demarcation of them versus us. Total surrender and total responsibility, at least mentally for starters, who knows we might just change the world and save it while we heal and love ourselves.

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why I said, “I do!’ and still mean it.

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I had forgotten the reasons why I decided to get married and have a family of my own. These last few days, since my husband has been off on a business trip leaving me alone in my big bed, I remembered why. I didn’t like the thought of returning home to an empty room, an empty bed and most importantly an empty life. Parents, siblings and friends are a good distraction and fill most of the hours in your day but it’s when you shut the doors, and crawl into bed that you realise why God decided, ‘it wasn’t good for man to be alone.’
I had a fun filled life, as cabin crew I travelled the world free of charge and with strong family ties I always had weekends and special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries to spend with people who mattered. My crazy bunch of girls/women and divas filled my day and sometimes until the wee hours of the morning with laughter, giggles, heart-warming moments and just raw girly fun.
As fulfilling and exciting the times were, eventually everyone retrieved into their own personal lives; boyfriends gave way to husbands, dirty nappies and the joys of motherhood-replaced pubbing & clubbing. Parents and siblings were always a permanent fixture but I was too emotionally attached to them and then I took a look at someone who I was destined to become in another 10 years.
She was attractive, confident, successful but lonely. A cabin crew trainer, looked much younger than her age; all those sleepless nights with a colicky baby really adds to those facial wrinkles! Confident, well dressed, successful but seriously lonely! The highlight of her days was spending time with her nephews & nieces. Her life had the ‘Always the bridesmaid never the bride’ sort of a theme that had lost its initial glamour. Every handsome man she dated was happily married and instead of romantic cards she received invitations to baby showers and weddings. The only guys who showed interest were the Casanovas who just looking for a chase or the straying husband looking for some excitement.
Every time she saw a happy couple she reminisced about that special one she let go off because she was too scared of loosing her independence getting stuck in a monotonous life full of nappies, tantrums and missed opportunities. Men are never faithful she often told herself, after all cabin crew are the preferred target for straying married men who often travel for business for long periods. (Note to self, need to call hubby and remind him how much I love him!)
I know many women who prefer casual flings as opposed to marriage and want a life that isn’t bogged down with family, children, in-laws and a demanding husband; I am not that woman. As much as I cringe and moan about how annoying it is to wake up in the morning to loud wails of, “Momma!” or 3am cries form a toddler who has wet her bed, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Wait a sec; I did trade it for the world! cryin
You know what? I’d do it again in a heartbeat! I have been to the Sydney harbour bridge and I have seen the Sydney opera house many times but to see it through the eyes of my 4 ½ year old, to absorb all that wonder and amazement; there are some things that money just can’t buy. Some things are just priceless and free, occupational perks of being a mom to three kids all below the age of 5!
I have been to exotic locales, sipping ice tea while starring into the cerulean Adriatic Sea but nothing beats three mucky kids splashing water and mud at each other on a hot Aussie summer. Giggling, did I mention that infectious, innocent, pulling at your heartstrings giggling? The one that makes you smile and laugh without your knowing? The one that starts with your lips goes all the way to your eyes and warms your heart? Priceless!

The best of both worlds!

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I’m 36, a mother of three and until today, 9.30 am, I did not realise that I have it all. Until 9.30 am, I was hassled, stressed and like every other woman who has delivered three children in the span of four years, struggling with my weight. I could go on and on about why my life is far from perfect, the dark circles under my eyes from waking up repeatedly at night to tuck one of my toddlers back to bed, my potty training struggles, my husband who just doesn’t understand, my work deadlines that I just can’t seem to meet, my shelved ambition to be a writer, I could go on…

So what happened? Well, I was as usual in my home office, I write articles for my husbands digital services company, when I chanced upon a very loud conversation between my au pair and my youngest, 20 month old Freny.

Merieke: “Oh Freny what did you do, naughty Freny, naughty!”

Freny: “I pretty, pretty!”

Merieke: “No, not pretty, naughty!”

Freny: “Pretty?”

Laughter all around….

Or an earlier incident when I dished up something exotic to entice my 2-½ yr. old to eat. She took one look at it and screamed, “Dangerous!”

LMAO!

How many women can boast of being able to work and still not miss out on the precious moments with their kids? I work and I probably should mention that as an aspiring writer, writing freelance articles is as good as it gets. My hours are anywhere between 6 to 10 hours a day, all subject to deadlines and my workload.

My husband who I constantly label as unsupportive is the one who gets me this fulfilling job and pays me for it! I get to spend this amount on anything I want, mostly clothes and toys for the kids that are not budgeted for, gifts for friends and family that my husband would consider excess. My kids of whom I never cease to complain about how they are demanding, taxing and the reason why I haven’t had a decent nights sleep for four year straight are the highlight of my day. The happiest moments of my life are centred on them, the day they were born, when they cuddled me and said they loved me or when they pass smart comments.

familyI have what most women wish they did and regret missing out on, time with my kids whilst still working (doing what I love!).  I have never missed any of their firsts, so much so that I don’t even remember to log it or keep a digital keepsake; I take it so much for granted!

As far as my weight is concerned, that’s another story, I am a great cook and I love food! Not a good combination if you want to be skinny! As long as my husband finds me attractive, I really shouldn’t stress on it but I do because that’s what a woman of today does.

That’s what I realised today at 9.30 am, I have the best of both worlds, I am truly blessed, praise God, and yet I moan and I complain. Why? Who has implanted this picture of this unattainable perfect life that my already wonderful life doesn’t measure up to? Who wants perfect? If my kids were absolutely well behaved, always immaculately dressed (meaning actually coming home with the same number of clothing, shoes etc. they went out with!), and slept peacefully through the night; then where would the memories be? Actually, in hindsight I would like the sleep through the night bit!

It’s their idiosyncrasies, their strong will and personalities that make every moment so memorable. The house is filled with laughter on account of their adventures and quirky behaviour. I have a really hard time with my 2-½ year old but when I look at her I see myself at that age. Apart form being an exact copy of me, she is an amalgamation of the strong personalities she has inherited form both sides of the family. It makes me realise what a blessed opportunity I have in the moulding of someone who is poised to do something extraordinary in life.

I am a mom, when did moulding lives and shaping personalities become such a mundane task?

Yes, 9.30 am today was an eye opener that my life is wonderful, and I am truly blessed. No, I do not have a model figure (probably never will), my kids are an unruly bunch, my husband is not perfect (neither am I), we are not rich but we are happy! I read somewhere that happy was originally derived form the meaning ‘lucky’ and wealthy actually meant ‘wellbeing’; both of which I am. At 9.30 am I realised I was rich with happiness, works for me.

by Antonia Rapheal

I am not a feminist and it should not bother someone who is.

For all those who are lining up with a bludger in hand to let me know  ‘why’ they oppose my line of thought, how about you make your self a cuppa and have a read?

To be an active soldier means there is a war, which means that there is conflict. No matter how you look at it, conflict exists because two or more parties partake in the argument. To have an argument all parties have to agree on one aspect, to disagree about a particular point sensitive to both.

Let me explain, Henrietta a scientist stationed in Antarctica believes in aliens, Annabel Louise thinks only whackos would entertain such a thought.  Henrietta and Annabel Louise bump into each other at a community get together in their hometown; they have a wonderful time catching up. There is no conflict. Henrietta and Annabel Louise are both aware of each other’s position on Aliens, both feel very strongly about the topic, however it plays no part in their friendship.

They are more than their opinions on a topic, Henrietta is more than an advocate of Aliens, she is a woman, a scientist, a kind person, etc. and so is Annabel Louise. I am not a feminist because I am not a label and no I don’t believe in all things equal. There is a lot more dynamics at play than just one metric as to intelligence or superiority. I am a lousy doctor (I never went to medical school), xyz is a great doctor because xyz actually studied to be a doctor, and it doesn’t mean that I am an inferior person.

We are not created ‘equal’ but we are created ‘unique’. We should celebrate our individuality not lobby for equality. A friend of mine has a child who has Down syndrome, you won’t find my friend lobbying for equality for her daughter but she does try to ‘educate’ everyone about how wonderful her daughter is.

All this ‘fight’ for equality stems from the need to fit in, for recognition, for acknowledgment. You don’t need all that when you are truly liberated. When you are your own person and not ashamed of who you are then the world doesn’t affect you.

I am a scrooge and I love bargains, I actually get a kick out of savings, I am a clearance shopper. My husband is the exact opposite; he loves designer wear, pays top dollar for everything and always disowns me in public when we are out shopping. Do we argue? In the beginning yes, when we tried to win each other over to the other side. Today, we have come to an understanding that we both have a right to exercise our choices (that does not cross certain lines, fidelity, honesty etc.) without needing each other’s approval.

Life shouldn’t be different, the world is not fair and it’s foolhardy to think that you can get somewhere lobbying about it. True change comes from within, it’s a gradual shift, the community has to come together and effect the change. Women play a great role in shaping the future, as mothers, sisters, daughters, wives, carers, teachers etc. If the world is not a better place then perhaps we should begin looking into our own souls?

You who lobby for women’s lib, do you look down on women who don’t ‘agree’ with your line of thinking or support you? Does the top executive look down on the stay at home mom? More importantly does the stay at home mom feel inadequate because she isn’t climbing the corporate ladder?

Inequalities stem from our own ideas of success, as mothers do we secretly hope that our children will become doctors, noble laureates instead of let say, a truck driver? Who are we to judge that a truck driver is any less of a person than a Nobel laureate? Yet it is the unspoken truth, we are always competing and comparing our children. Step into a playground and you can hear the mothers, “Mine is 18 months and already potty trained!” “My baby has spoken her first word, and she is only 7 months!”

Do you really think your kids don’t hear you?  So early in life they are absorbing this competitive spirit, they are developing this need for approval and public admiration?

So no, I’m not a feminist; I am a woman, ordinary and proud of it. Ordinary to the world but so special to my family and you know what? That’s all that matters.